"She wants me to eat a weed??"
I can see you crinkling up your nose as you read the title of this recipe. But hear me out.
Horticulturally speaking, a weed is nothing more than a plant growing in the 'wrong' place. The term can apply to any member of the botanical world. Which means that technically any vegetable, fruit, herb, legume or grain can be considered a weed to somebody somewhere.
Kinda changes your perspective, doesn't it?
This is a slightly modified version of Heidi Swanson's recipe from her cookbook Super Natural Every Day. It's one of my favorite cookbooks of all time — easily one of my top 5 — and definitely worth checking out if you don't already own it.
Her recipe is fresh and vibrant; however, I found it to be a little too bitter for my taste. So I've played with the proportions and added the zucchini noodles to balance out the bitterness of the greens. The result is a dish that I just can't get enough of.
Thin, young dandelion greens aren't as bitter as the thick, older leaves so look for those when purchasing.
First, cut off the thick, stalky part of the leaves. Then gather the leaves firmly in one hand while cutting them into thin little ribbons with the other. Try to cut the leaves no more than 1/4 inch wide if possible. You'll end up with a big pile of greens, but they'll cook down to about a third of what you've prepped.
You certainly don't have to spiralize the zucchini, but it sure is fun. A spiralizer is one of the few kitchen gadgets I own (and I'm always happy when I remember to actually use it). It just makes veggies fun. And it's a great way to get my son involved in the kitchen because he loves to use it too.
Speaking of which, he isn't crazy about this recipe — it's a little strong for him. So I'll saute some of the zuchini noodles in olive oil for a few minutes, then top them with some freshly grated Locatelli or Parmgiano cheese (a super-simple tweek for those without allergies to milk) for his portion of the meal. Which means he'll eat his dinner without whining and I don't have to cook something entirely different for him. Which makes me a happy momma.
When zesting the lemon, be sure to only remove the bright yellow outer skin. The white layer beneath (the pith) can be bitter.
As a bonus, if you juice the entire lemon you can use the leftover juice to make this Easy Lemon Kale recipe for your lunch this week.
One final note: I imagine you could make this recipe raw with great success as well. You could add the greens, lemon juice, garlic, & salt through a blender to make a pesto-type sauce, then toss it with the zucchini noodles, chick peas and lemon zest. Easy, right? Let me know if you try it — I'd love to hear if it works!
Chickpeas & Dandelion Greens
*The following recipe can easily be made 8SAFE if you follow the original recipe and only use processed ingredients that are free of gluten & the top eight food allergens.
All of the ingredients in this recipe are either whole foods or minimally processed. I used EDEN ORGANIC Garbanzo Beans and NAPA VALLEY NATURALS Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil. This recipe makes enough to feed two hungry adults as a meal; four to six as a side.
1 small can (15 oz) chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans) ; drained, rinsed, and dried
1 bunch dandelion greens; cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
zest from one lemon
1 - 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup pure olive oil
1 small clove of garlic; minced or run thru a press
1 medium zuchini; spiralized or cut into noodles
Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and 3 or 4 big pinches of salt and stir. Continue cooking (and occasionally stirring) the chickpeas until they begin to develop golden skins, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the dandelion greens and stir, just until they start to collapse, which should take about a minute or less. (If cooking the zuchini noodles, add them to the skillet along with the greens.)
Add the garlic and stir, and cook for another 30 seconds or so until garlic is fragrant. Add the lemon juice and stir.
Remove from heat and add lemon zest.
Always use safe handling practices when preparing an 8SAFE recipe:
Wash hands with soap and water (hand sanitizer does not remove allergens).
Wipe down all surfaces; use clean equipment; and
Avoid cross contamination of ingredients not called for in the recipe. Be mindful that allergens can become airborne in flour or powdered form. Preparing 8SAFE recipes before ‘regular’ recipes will help prevent cross contamination. Do not share equipment among recipes (For example: If you cook regular pasta alongside 8SAFE pasta, use a dedicated spoon for each. Do not use one spoon to stir both pots.)
Clean your grill thoroughly beforehand (or use a clean grill pan or tin foil on the grill) when preparing an 8SAFE recipe.
Dedicate individual serving utensils for each dish. Allow food sensitive guests to serve themselves first to reduce risk of cross contamination from serving utensils.
When in doubt, snap a photo of the ingredient list of any processed items you use for an 8SAFE recipe. You can then share the information with your guests to confirm that it’s safe.